Thursday, April 30, 2015

#1,718. Home Movie (2008)

Directed By: Christopher Denham

Starring: Adrian Pasdar, Cady McClain, Amber Joy Williams

Tag line: "I dare you to watch until our movie is done"

Trivia: This movie premiered at the 2008 Fantasia Film Festival

Home Movie, a 2008 found footage-style horror / thriller directed by Christopher Denham, introduces us to the Poe family, who live in a remote area of upstate New York. David (Adrian Pasdar), a Lutheran minister, can’t get enough of the new video camera. He takes it with him wherever he goes, shooting everything from the surprise dinner he made to celebrate his wedding anniversary to a backyard baseball game. His wife Clare (Cady McClain), a child psychologist, is constantly telling him to put the camera down, but David is having way too much fun to stop now. Unfortunately, their kids, twins Jack and Emily (played by real-life siblings Austin and Amber Joy Williams), don’t enjoy spending time with the family, and withdraw to either their bedroom or the clubhouse they share in the middle of the woods. But what at first looks like a mild case of anti-social behavior soon proves to be something much more disturbing. Can David and Clare turn the kids around, or are sinister forces at work here?

Both Pasdar and McClain do a fine job as the loving parents in search of answers, each turning to what they know best to try and “fix” the children (Mom prescribes some behavior-altering drugs, while Dad is convinced a demon has taken control of their house, and at one point even attempts an exorcism). But as good as they are, it’s the children you’ll remember when you think back on Home Movie. Almost immediately, we sense there’s something different about Jack and Emily. Aside from the fact they never speak, the two spend their nights sleeping in the same bed, and at times seem to appear out of thin air (more than once, we think they’re asleep, only to find them standing by their bed a moment later). It takes a while for David and Clare to realize their kids are wackos (even a troubling incident involving two pet goldfish is quickly forgotten), but once they do, Home Movie enters a whole new realm of creepy.

Though plagued by some of the same issues that affect other found footage films (there are moments, especially later on, when we wonder why the camera is still rolling), Home Movie is an unsettling, often spooky look at a family in turmoil. If you’re a parent, this isn’t a film you’ll easily forget.

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